Senior editor, Chatelaine
Interview by: Jaclyn Mika (School of Journalism '08).
Chantal Braganza, School of Journalism '09, is senior editor at Chatelaine.
What did you originally see yourself doing when you first enrolled in journalism school?
I didn't have a concrete idea! I knew that I loved storytelling, fancied myself a decent writer and figured that journalism, as an industry, was a good fit to develop both things.
How did that vision change as the years went by?
I was one of the last cohorts of [the university]'s journalism program when it was divided into streams: newspaper, magazine, broadcast, and online. I'd graduated from the magazine stream, and genuinely believed I was going to spend the rest of my career writing long-form features because of this. The reality? In the 10 years since I've ended up working in almost every medium in which news is produced. I think my writing has benefited from this.
Thinking back to your first year self, how do you think they would react to where you are now?
She'd probably be more than a little surprised that I ended up working in broadcasting in any kind of capacity, whatsoever. I was terrified of those classes in undergrad!
What do you think the School of Journalism experience offers that you can’t get anywhere else?
I didn't fully appreciate this at the time, but[School of Journalism]'s faculty is an impressive mix of people currently working in the industry, people with international experience, and people deeply engaged in scholarly study of the craft to give better context to some of the deeper questions around why and how journalists do what they do.
What have you done since graduating/how did you arrive at your current position?
I'm currently a digital media editor at TVO, where I work on podcasts, online reporting, newsletters, and the odd segment of The Agenda. Working backwards from that, I spent some time reporting on the Canadian media scene for J-Source, freelanced as a writer and editor before that, worked as a city editor for OpenFile, an assistant editor at Reader's Digest, and a copy editor at the Toronto Star. I've also returned to [the university] on a couple of occasions to teach!
Note: Since this interview, Chantal Braganza has become senior editor at Chatelaine.
Can you talk about one of the biggest:
1) accomplishments you've made?
My first instinct is to say sticking it out in journalism these 10 years later is a pretty big one. Perhaps the other: I just signed my first book deal earlier this year.
2) challenges you've faced as a journalist?
Navigating an environment in which job stability has never been a given. It's not unique to journalism by any means, but graduating in 2009 was a rough year.
What's one of your favourite memories from j-school?
Putting The [Review of Journalism] together—and the many late-night proofing and fact checking sessions that came with it.
Any memorable School of Journalism professors during your time at the university?
Lynn Cunningham, Tim Falconer, and Steve Trumper. All three took part running the RRJ and made sure we had a great experience.
What advice would you give to current journalism students?
There is no journalism program on Earth, even the best of them, that can land you work on the strength of the degree alone. You're a journalist-in-training from the moment you start class, so act like one. Read widely. Pitch stories to campus and hometown papers. Start looking for internships from your very first year.